Entries From Ecuador 12-10-13

Ecuador Volcanoes: Casey Grom & Team Arrive in Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello from Quito everyone!

After some very long flights the team has arrived safe and sound here in Ecuador. We started our day with a group meeting where we shared a little about each other and discussed the plans for our expedition. We then headed out on a city tour which was mostly spent visiting the colonial old town and it’s many churches built in the 17th century. We also visited the Virgin de Quito, which is a statue that overlooks the entire city and is similar in importance to our Statue of Liberty.

After our tour we headed back to our hotel to allow the team some time to rest before meeting and discussing the gear needed for our upcoming climbs. After making sure everyone was well equipped with the essentials we took a short walk to a nearby restaurant and patiently waited for all of our food to arrive. The food was delicious and everyone left with smiles on their faces.

It looks like a great group of people and everyone is looking forward to stretching their legs tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Quito, The Basilica. Photo: RMI Collection


Safe travels my friend and I wish I was with you!  Enjoy the views for me!


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Posted by: Klay on 12/16/2013 at 11:43 am

HI Brian

have a safe and fun time!  We missed you at the Easterday family Christmas gathering!
Marcia and Dave send their best!

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Posted by: Kim on 12/14/2013 at 7:50 pm

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Acclimatizes with hike of Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,000

Hello again everyone
Today we had a very nice hike to help with our acclimatization on a nearby peak called Pichincha. It is one of the many local peaks that is situated above Quito and is used by many climbers to help adjust to the higher altitude here in Ecuador. We made use of the gondolas to help us gain access to around 12,500 ft then hiked the additional 2,500 ft to the summit. It took our team roughly 3 hours to gain the top after a little scrambling up the final bit to reach our high point thus far. It was a personal high point for a few of us, and the entire team did a fantastic job. After spending a bit of time on the summit and getting are photos we descended all the back to our hotel for a brief nap before dinner.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew.

The Ecuador Volcanoes December 10th team takes an acclimatization hike on Rucu Pichincha, Quito Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom RMI Climbers ascending Rucu Pichincha on an acclimatization hike.  Photo: Casey Grom The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes December 10th team on the summit Rucu Pichincha, Quito Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Ecuador Volcanoes: Team Takes Acclimatization Hike

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hi Everyone!
We are enjoying a relaxing evening here at the beautiful La Casa Sol near the city of Otavalo.
We left the comforts of Quito this morning and headed into the mountains (where many of us actually feel more comfortable!) for our second acclimatization hike. As we watched the city disappear in the rear view mirror we traded well paved roads for cobblestones and washboard.  The van bumped along, and our driver skillfully negotiated the hazards of rural driving… while we all fought the urge to hold our breath and cross our fingers.  Maybe we should have, because our luck soon ran out and Friday the 13th delivered us a logistical sucker punch. 
With a loud crack, our vehicle let us know it was done going uphill for the day.  A dislodged cobblestone had broken the axel and stopped us, quite suddenly, in our tracks. 
Fortunately, our group has the perfect easy going attitude, and after getting the baggage and van transfer sorted out, we shouldered our daypacks and set off for some slightly more oxygenated exercise.  Nearly three hours and five miles later we arrived at the trailhead! 
One of our local guides, Esteban (nicknamed Topo), had been busy reorganizing our logistics while we strolled, and he and a few others arrived to our rescue shortly thereafter in shining Toyota Hilux’s.
Delivered safely to our hacienda we enjoyed a delicious dinner and are now all busy packing our gear and getting organized and prepared to tackle our first big objective. Wish us luck as we travel towards Cayambe tomorrow!

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall

Lots to see at the Otavalo Market. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition at dinner. Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Ready for Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Greetings everyone back home. This is Casey Grom checking in from the RMI Ecuador Volcanoes expedition. Just wanted to let you know that everyone’s doing fantastic. We are up here at the Refugio or the hut this sits at the base of glacier on Cayambe. We just finished dinner and packed our bags for tomorrow’s climb. We took the day to get up early and go for a nice hike up to the glacier to do a little climbing review. Everyone did fantastic. The weather is looking pretty good. It was incredibly nice today; sunny almost all day. A little bit of clouds now but the forecast is pretty good. So we are going to be getting up about 11 PM and hopefully walking a little after midnight. We’ll do our best to check in from the summit. I’m anticipating is is going to take us about seven hours to reach the summit. Sorry we are having some technology difficulties with charging some of our iPhones up here but will hopefully have some pictures sent tomorrow when we descend after our climb and we get cell reception or Wi-Fi access. Everything’s great and looking forward to sending some pictures to you guys. Thanks.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

Casey Grom calling in from Cayambe's Refugio.

On The Map

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Summit Cayambe!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 16, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,997'

We did it, most of us anyway, but I have to wonder if those that turned around short of the summit didn’t make a better decision. I say that because it was one of the toughest days I’ve had on Cayambe in a long time. It was cold, windy, and snowy almost the entire day. The conditions were safe to climb in, but it was far from enjoyable. Six of our nine climbers made the summit and the three that chose to head down early did so because I believe they simply weren’t enjoying it.
We started our day rather early with breakfast at 11pm and were walking shortly after midnight. The first hour of the climb went rather smoothly as we made our way to the start of the glacier. We took a short break to adjust layers, put our crampons on and rope up for the ascent. It seemed like as soon as we started walking the wind picked up and the snow began to blow. Unfortunately for us the blowing snow was coming straight down the glacier and directly into our faces. As we painfully made our way uphill, we had to stop and put on our Gore-tex to protect us from the conditions. We slowly battled our way for the next few hours taking short breaks and finally after seven trying hours stood on the summit. It was so windy on top we only stayed for just a few minutes before quickly descending back down the glacier.
Once safely back at camp the team made quick work of getting packed up and we headed down valley to thicker air and a wonderful cafe where we filled bellies before heading south to our home at Chilcabamba for the next few days. I’m sure everyone will sleep soundly tonight and we are looking forward to taking a rest day tomorrow.
Everyone is in good spirits!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The team getting ready for the Cayambe summit. Photo: Casey Grom December 16, 2013 - RMI Team summits Cayambe! Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map


yay daddy!

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Posted by: Marianne Mycroft on 12/16/2013 at 1:56 pm

Way to go Dad!!

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Posted by: Gabe Mycroft on 12/16/2013 at 1:55 pm

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Rest Day after Cayambe Summit

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 17, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 12,000'

We all enjoyed a restful, relaxing, and rejuvenating day off at the Chilcabama Eco Lodge just outside the Cotopaxi National Park.  The Hacienda sits at about 12,000’, which after our summit on Cayambe feels like sea level!
Our team took advantage of the thicker air with a variety of afternoon activities. Some of us participated in a cribbage tournament, some took naps, a few motivated folks went for a scenic jog, and we all spent time wandering the property taking in the beautiful plants and wildlife. 
During the pre-dinner hours we discussed packing strategy and the game plan for Cotopaxi, and are excited and prepared to tackle our next objective tomorrow.
Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Casey Grom and Solveig Waterfall

Chilcabamba Eco Lodge, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

Ecuador Volcanoes: Team is Rested And Ready

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 18, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,000'

After almost two days of rest at the lovely Chilcabamba the team is feeling refreshed and excited for Cotopaxi. We had a leisurely breakfast and then finished our packing before loading up the van and heading uphill to reach the parking lot that allows us easy access to the mountain. The parking lot sits at about 15,000’ and the climbers hut is just about a 1,000’ above that. Our timing was perfect today as we hiked to the hut just after a small snow squall and shortly before the weather came back in. Lucky for us!
Our plan tonight is to get up around 11pm again and hopefully be climbing shortly after midnight. I’m expecting the climb take us around 7 hours if all goes according to plan.
Keep your phones nearby tomorrow morning. A lucky winner will make a summit phone call if the weather allows.
Wish us luck
RMI Guide Casey Grom and team

The Jose Ribas Refugio, 16,000 ft, on Cotopaxi, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection Cotopaxi, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map


God’s speed! Safe climbing!
Love you Brian M

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Posted by: Duane Mycroft on 12/19/2013 at 5:20 am

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team 100% on Cotopaxi Summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 19, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Summit on Cotopaxi!!!

We awoke to start our climb from the Refugio at 16,000’ in a misty cloud, but as we ascended the thick fog gave way to clear skies and stars.  Our ascent took a direct route that brought 100% of our team to the summit of Cotopaxi”>Cotopaxi just as the sun began to rise.
We had a calm and relatively warm hour on the summit to make some calls and take photos while enjoying impressive views of the crater and surrounding volcanoes.
We are now all safely back in Quito and just returned from a delicious celebration dinner!
We are looking forward to being home with our friends and family soon!

RMI Guides Casey Grom and Solveig Waterfall

An RMI Team ascending Cotopaxi. Photo: RMI Collection 100% of team on Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom 12/19/2013 - Cotopaxi summit sunrise. Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map


Congratulations to Brian and the rest of you!

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Posted by: Karen Easterday on 12/21/2013 at 5:30 pm

Congrats to everyone!

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Posted by: Paul Judge on 12/20/2013 at 10:33 am